“What greater thing is there for two human souls, than to feel that they are joined for life–to strengthen each other in all labor, to rest on each other in all sorrow, to minister to each other in all pain, to be one with each other in silent unspeakable memories at the moment of the last parting?” – George Eliot, excerpt from Adam Bede
I seem to hear quite often that helping others is the path to happiness. The idea generally seems to be a universal belief by many who are wiser than I am. The Dalai Lama, for instance, has written extensively about compassion and what it means to others as well as ourselves. And when I look at the bonds of love and compassion between two human souls, it is clearly evident to me that there is nothing more powerful, nothing more influential, nothing more comforting, than to feel joined to another human soul for life.
My first thought is, “how far should I put myself out there to form bonds with other human souls?” My time and resources are limited, of course, and I cannot expect to form such a bond with the entirety of the human race. And when I take some time to examine this, I find that such questions require a bit of discernment–I should put forth the effort to try to form bonds with those I can, and at the same time, I must work to strengthen the bonds and relationships that I already have.
Additionally, I find that forming a loving bond with another human soul is not as difficult as I often make it out to be. Simply putting myself out there in society–volunteering, spending time helping others, spending time listening to others, sharing in their joys and sorrows–goes a long way towards building stronger bonds with those in my life. Moreover, the time we spend with others, and the things we do for them, are appreciated by those individuals as well as society as a whole.
We are probably going to be most effective helping out those who are close to us–our spouses, our children, our siblings, our relatives, our neighbors, and our co-workers. Build up your marriage, strengthen your relationships with your children and family, and improve your friendships with those around you. Everyone can benefit from the bonds of compassion and love that we have the ability to share each moment of each day of our lives. One day, perhaps, you may need another soul to be there for you.
Show compassion and love to others.
Questions to consider:
What are the long-term effects on yourself of spreading love and feeling compassion?
Do you regularly nourish your soul be helping others?
If you could receive any kind of help at all right now, what would it be? Can you think of others who may want that same kind of help?
For further thought:
“Open your eyes and look for a human being, or some work devoted to human welfare, which needs from someone a little time or friendliness, a little sympathy, or sociability, or labor. There may be a solitary or an embittered fellowman, an invalid, or an inefficient person to whom you can be something. Perhaps it is an old person or a child. Or some good work needs volunteers who can offer a free evening, or run errands. Who can enumerate the many ways in which that costly piece of working capital, a human being, can be employed? More of him is wanted everywhere! Search, then, for some investment for your humanity, and do not be frightened away if you have to wait, or to be taken on trial. And be prepared for disappointments. But in any case, do not be without some secondary work in which you can give yourself as a human to other humans. It is marked out for you, if you only truly will to have it.” – Albert Schweitzer